The Citibank brand is a behemoth in banking globally. It’s known as a major player in consumer and corporate banking and as a full-service wealth manager to high net worth individuals (HNWIs).
That’s its brand perception globally, but not in Australia where its consumer brand is firmly rooted in credit cards, personal loans and mortgages.
Committed to building the profile of its wealth offering, in September 2018 Citibank Australia sought out The Dubs to discuss how content could help position its wealth division as a high-quality offering and create awareness with HNWIs in Australia.
At its most basic the problem was obvious. How do you convince HNWIs that Citibank Australia was the best choice to manage and build their wealth when their only real exposure to the brand was its marketing of consumer credit cards and personal loans. In a nutshell, they simply weren’t seen as a high-end wealth manager.
As Citibank Australia’s head of client value proposition – Cameron Bryant – put it “we have a great wealth offering at Citi but our challenge was making this known to wealthy investors. We needed our content to lift awareness of our brand and help HNWI’s with their investment decisions”.
The first step was to understand what Citibank Australia genuinely had to offer HNWIs in the wealth space. HNWI’s want advice from experienced experts, access to market leading products and the financial infrastructure to manage and deliver on their investment needs.
“We needed our content to lift awareness of our brand and help HNWI’s with their investment decisions”
From discussion with Citibank Australia’s wealth team we found they had market leading products in the FX, bonds and structured investments space. Discussions with the relationship management team showed they deliver a highly tailored response to personally manage their clients specific needs. And lastly, looking across the business globally we saw Citibank Australia has access to an amazing depth of in-house financial markets research and expert knowledge across the entire spectrum of investment opportunities locally and globally.
This discovery process uncovered the strategic truths that would appeal to HNWIs and form the basis of the content program.
Complemented by our own in-house research into the wealth management space and how local and global competitors were positioning themselves through content, we then identified gaps where Citibank Australia could stand out and own the conversation.
Lastly, we reviewed Citibank Australia’s infrastructure and internal processes to understand the operating environment including compliance, marketing technology, data integration, divisional workflows, brand voice and social channels. This step is important as it’s one thing to craft a stellar content strategy but it’s useless if it can’t be executed properly due to an organisation’s incompatible internal setup and processes.
Bryant said by reaching out to the other areas of the bank they understood where things would run smoothly and where the hurdles were so working contingencies could be put in place upfront and allow the content program to deliver on the strategy.
“The focus on FX and bond solutions being backed up with market insights and news from Citibank gave us a valueable standpoint and depth of knowledge we could offer to HNWIs,’ Bryant said.
The discovery process fleshed out the ingredients we needed to promote to attract HNWIs to Citibank Australia’s banner. In brief these are:
Citibank Australia has market leading investment products across FX, bonds and structured investments.
HNWI clients of Citibank Australia have access to a dedicated relationship manager who tailors client wealth needs to their specific investment profile.
Access to Citibank’s full gambit of in-house global research and specialist investment teams so HNWIs can keep abreast of the key issues informing their investment decisions.
The next step was to identify how the pillars of product, service and globality would be brought to life with content, where it would live, how it would be structured, and importantly, how it would be amplified in market.
Given Citibank Australia’s wealth team were largely starting from scratch with its content marketing program we started with a minimum viable content ecosystem and built it out as initial results started to educate the business internally where opportunities could be expanded and hurdles addressed.
This also gave us a mechanism to ensure initial budgets were managed appropriately and built the business case for increased attention and budgets to drive greater results.
For this reason our launch content ecosystem consisted of Citibank Australia’s owned channels being their website content hub and existing email lists.
Beyond this we introduced their first always-on paid amplification social channel being LinkedIn given it’s the natural vehicle to reach HNWIs.
We redesigned the email template’s visual structure and content hierarchy to better convey information to recipients.
The existing content hub had a number of deficiencies we had to work around at launch. Its information architecture, visual design and overall user experience was sadly lacking and it was hardcoded offshore which meant any changes were frustratingly slow to implement.
But that said, it was a destination we could work with, delivering immediate impact by improving the content and imagery published on the hub.
Thankfully, the business was already working on a new website design within a content management system so information display could be radically improved and content updated efficiently.
To kickstart the social distribution of content LinkedIn was chosen as the primary network where HNWI’s could be reached at scale. With LinkedIn we ran a three-month optimisation campaign to identify which HNWI segments were most responsive and A/B tested messaging to lock onto which gave the best result for budget spend.
“One year into the initiative and we are now examining a shift to an always-on content programme that targets HNWIs directly in social and pulls them back to our insights hub for more and spurs conversation with relationship managers on portfolio make up and product mix,” Bryant said.
The three-month LinkedIn paid amplification campaign for the period April-to-June 2019 was targeted to HNWI audiences and delivered 855,893 impressions with a click-through rate (CTR) of 0.57% which is above LinkedIn’s finance industry benchmark of 0.45%.
The promoted content received 7,903 engagements with an engagement rate of 0.92% or almost double LinkedIn’s industry benchmark of 0.47%.
Promoted content pushed through to articles on the content hub and delivered 4m30s dwell time on site with 8.6% viewing two or more pages showing the audience was actively engaging with the content.
The content strategy has delivered big traffic improvements to Citibank Australia’s Insights content hub as shown by comparing results for the period January – to – June 2019 with the corresponding period in 2018.
Page Views jumped 220% on the comparative period while Visits likewise lifted 222% and to round this off Unique Visits similarly increased by an impressive 216%.
In 2020 the Insights Hub was awarded Citi’s Sustainable Growth Award for Australia, flagged as a highly-successful and client-centric initiative.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Prior to the content program launch Citibank Australia’s wealth-related information generally ranked on the 9th or 10th pages of Google so it wasn’t working at all from an SEO perspective.
But that is now all starting to change with numerous wealth content articles now ranking on the 1st or 2nd pages of Google for key wealth-related searches.
Bryant readily admits getting a successful content program off the ground from scratch is no easy task but said by running a structured process involving the right internal teams and external experts set Citibank Australia’s wealth content marketing up for success from the start.
“Less than a year in and we’re sourcing high-quality content internally and supplementing this with externally produced content where we have gaps,” Bryant said.
“And we have started our always-on content distribution with the learnings from our LinkedIn campaigns and are now set to expand this to other relevant networks that deliver our content to HNWIs” he said.